An Underbiked Adventure

It is easy to get stressed in these politically fraught days, especially with the unwavering cloud of a global pandemic hanging overhead. At the ROTOR America office, some of our staff have been searching for ways to blow off some steam without putting themselves at undue risk. Joel has been especially champing at the bit with his beautiful custom Salt Air lusting after the big gravel races that this season can no longer offer.

Salt Air custom bicycle with ROTOR 1x13 groupset - hydraulic shifting
pictured here in its original roadie form

When the dust settles, we want to know that we did everything we could to contribute to healing our communities where possible, and to staying out of the way when the situation calls for it. Right now, staying out of the way means staying out of the hospital. Here, in a few words, I will prevent the argument for underbiking. 

Underbike
(verb; gerund or present participle "underbiking")
To adventure on a bike typically deemed inadequate for the terrain, i.e. a road bike on gravel roads, or a gravel bike on singletrack, or a BMX bike at Whistler.

When planning a route, we have been considering unusual factors like minimizing the number of stops, avoiding high traffic areas, and keeping the group limited to the few of us that see one another daily in the office. We also try to ride well within our limits. The hooligan within hollers for more, but as responsible social animals, we dial it back to a safe level.

However, there is a loophole: ride the wrong bike. Joel figured this out and led a small expedition to ride the Crest trail, a popular Trailduro loop, on gravel bikes. The principle is simple. Any trail like the Crest offers guaranteed excitement on drop bars, and we'll be forced to either walk the rowdy parts or trials our way up at such low speed that any error offers negligible risk. 

Joel's custom Salt Air with 1x13 on the Crest Trail in Park City

We rode the trail in the uphill direction, starting early in the morning to avoid peak hours. The climb up was forested road to singletrack switchbacks. It was grueling and beautiful, with very little traffic until the crux of the trail, called the spine. We walked up the spine, then rode doubletrack to the road back down into town.

At the end of the day, everybody got their thrills, nobody got hurt, and we only made one aggro XC lady-bro mad that we were riding silly bikes on her trail. Really, whatever you do, whether it's 180s in parking lots, riding the rollers, or early-morning out and backs, just remember to stay safe and have fun! 

Click here for more of the latest from the ROTOR squad, and check out the group Joel chose to spec out his Salt Air at the links below.